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Roger, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31688
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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my husband owned a car jointly with his ex wife in the state

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my husband owned a car jointly with his ex wife in the state of Missouri. She was to sell it per the divorce decree in 2007,in which she did not,and divide the proceeds in half. We just found out she sold the car in 2010 without the knowledge or consent of my husband (the co owner). Upon calling her local police department,they stated as long as her name was on the title she could sell it,and they would not persue a forgery charge. They said we could persue a civil suit. What are our options and recourse of retriving the funds as well as prosecuting her for forgery and fraud?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a litigation attorney here to assist you.


The best thing he could do is file a motion for contempt against her for violating the judge's order/divorce decree. The judge can order her to pay him his portion of the proceeds and can also fine or even jail her for failing to comply with the order.


If she forged his name, it is certainly a crime, but as you've been told, there's not enough blood, drugs or guns involved for the police to charge her. Thus, you'd be left to a civil case against her. It's easier, quicker and cheaper to file a motion for contempt instead of filing a new lawsuit.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So a motion for a centempt on the divorcee decree, would need to go through a divorcee attorney? Would there be any criminal charges for the forgery or larceny of selling the vehicle without the consent of the other party (my husband as the co owner)? Would it be feasible if we filed a contempt charge,to recover attorney fees also?
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

Yes, a divorce attorney can file a motion for contempt with the court. You can seek attorney's fees, but that is up to the judge - he/she can grant or refuse to award them.


You can file criminal charges if she forged his name on the vehicle title and the bill of sale, etc.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
How can criminal charges be filed through a divorcee attorney if the local police department would not even view it as crimimal? We obvioulsy do not want to bear the brunt of financial expenses when she is the on eviolating everything from civil to criminal.Honestly,what do you think the chances are of her being liable for the expense,or even getting criminial charges?
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

I think I may have confused you. You don't need the divorce attorney to file criminal charges; you don't even need the police. You can go to the court clerk's office and file charges yourself. You don't need a lawyer for that - there will be a state prosecutor who will bring the charges against her on your behalf.


You need a divorce attorney if you want to file contempt charges.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
since we live out of state,how would we go about contacting the states court clerk to file charges? How would I even look that up? What would I look up in order to contact by phone to file? What would the clerk title be in order to look it up?
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.
What state does she live in?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She lives in Wildwood ,Missouri.
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.
You need to contact the circuit clerk's office in the county of her residence. They will help you get the criminal charges filed.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
In your experience,which,or if both, are more effective in persuing for a positive outcome? Trust me,I would love to see her swing for both(legal and civil)...but would I would like some sort of of sure thing. She is always legally wrong but seems to come out without any or legal.
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

You're much better off to go the civil route because you already have a court case filed, you can seek the amount due, plus interest, plus attorney's fees.


If you go the criminal route, the prosecutor will likely cut a deal with her, she won't spend any time in jail, and only pay you restitution - no interest or attorney's fees.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I could therefore technically file both suits,since the criminal suit would not be of any financial expense.

The civil would be with the expectation she would have to pay for restitution as well as expenses.

Filing both might freak her out more too. Having a criminal case to deal with is much more of a threat than a civil suit.No?

Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

Yes, you can file both civil and criminal charges. The criminal case won't cost you, but the civil charges will as you'll have to pay your attorney - the court can order her to reimburse her for these expenses in its discretion.


A criminal case is worse because jail time is possible - as well as a criminal record.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It is a shame there was no recourse with the police department. I thought it was a crime to forge a signature that lead to a sale of a vehicle that was co owned. I am actually shocked by the lack of support from the local police dept.
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.
It is a crime, but like I said a while ago, there's not enough blood, drugs or guns involved to make this something they're going to pay a lot of attention to.
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